Alien Invasions: Then and Now

What happens when you pair a classic text with a contemporary title? Here’s one suggestion for teachers who want to to reinvigorate student interest in the classics while helping them explore contemporary issues. Classic Text: War of the Worlds Wells, H. G. (1997). The war of the worlds. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications. Summary: Written in 1898, War of […]

Let ‘Em Talk: How to Facilitate Small Group Discussions

Overview You know what scares a lot of teachers? Letting students talk. We spend a lot of time shhhh-ing and waiting for students to stop talking so they can listen to us. The good news is that there is a way we can let students to talk and help them learn at the same time. It takes […]

Who does better on Reading Tests? Readers! Thoughts from UCI Teachers Conference

Last week—wait was that only last week?—I drove down to UC Irvine to attend the UCI Conference for Teachers.  My general rule for evaluating one-day conferences or workshops is this: The time is well spent if I take away at least one great idea.  At UCI I got many. Carol Jago (@CarolJago), educator, author and NCTE past […]

Still Aiming for that Community of Readers

This year my priority is to encourage independent reading. We teachers can give students all the reading strategies, writing structures, and grammar rules we want, but aren’t students best served if we help them embark upon (or continue) a lifetime journey as readers? Many of us have good intentions when we give up on independent reading programs. After all, […]

Build a Community of Readers? Yes, Please!

My grade 7  PLC has joyfully embarked upon a reading journey with our students (see previous Book Love entry). What do I mean by that? Well, we are systematically putting the reading back into our English curriculum. This may sound like a no duh! kind of situation to some people, but not to us. Time […]

Book Love! New Ideas About Independent Reading

I’m about halfway through Book Love by Penny Kittle and it is giving me a lot of ideas about how I want to run my independent reading program next year. The introduction has some shocking research about young readers. I mean, we know these things, but it is still depressing: “All adolescents are reading less. There is a downward trend […]